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San Mateo High School unveils new theater
October 03, 2013, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Tonight’s grand opening of the San Mateo Performing Arts Center will feature opening comments and performances by San Mateo High School students highlighting the new theater’s technical capabilities.

An art class at San Mateo High School competed to create the building’s banners.

San Mateo High School is ushering in its new state-of-the-art theater that is the largest between San Francisco and San Jose with a grand opening tonight.

The 1,540-seat, 55,000-square-foot San Mateo Performing Arts Center cost about $28 million and took two years. This is the most costly project paid for with a 2006 $298 million bond measure, said Liz McManus, the San Mateo Union High School District’s deputy superintendent of business services.

“It’s an immense project and a lot of workers [on the theater] have asked if they can bring their wives to the open house,” she said. “People are proud of their craftsmanship on the building and that’s a clear indication of the building’s quality.”

The center preceding the newly constructed theater was built in 1953.

“Something that’s 60 years old depletes during its life span,” McManus said. “It was an opportunity to replenish life into the center; it was on time and on budget.”

With three main lighting catwalks, a full technical ledge, lighting bars and a computer controlled lighting panel, the theater provides the lighting needs for any venue including a soloist, full orchestration, dramatic performance, choir, lecture or speaking forum. House lighting includes wall scones to allow varied house lighting moods depending on the event.

Suspended acoustical clouds and specially designed side and rear wall finishes ensure all seats have clear un-reverberant sound. The stage and house is equipped with wired and wireless technologies for presentations including large format video screen and sound reinforcement.

“The acoustical system sounds like [Louise M.] Davies Symphony Hall,” McManus said.

The previous theater did not provide wheelchair accessibility.

“It was in fact so poor that the entire house was inaccessible,” said Mark Quattrocchi, principal at Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, the architects that designed the project. “Now there is access to all levels of the lobby and seating, as well as the orchestra pit and basement levels.”

The Collaborative for High Performance Schools was used as opposed to LEED. The equivalent LEED rating would likely be Silver, Quattrocchi said. The building is highly energy efficient and includes day lighting in the lobby to reduce demand on artificial lighting and uses many recycled and readily renewable materials, Quattrocchi said.

“The role the theater offers is really important for learning opportunities,” he said. “It’s invaluable from a 21st century learning perspective. Students can learn about the technology side of theater. Students can take an active role in running a sophisticated theater.”

Matt Irwin, project manager at Cahill Contractors, worked on the center and noted that for a project of this size and complexity, every aspect had its challenges.

“There was a significant amount of collaboration,” Irwin said. “It was a monumental effort that makes it all the more satisfying.”

An art class at San Mateo High School competed to create the building’s banners. Additional touches include an additional two floors to the front area, bamboo along the side of the building to screen the generators, televisions and a concession stand on the second floor.

The grand opening is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at 600 N. Delaware St. in San Mateo and will feature opening comments and performances by San Mateo High School students highlighting the new theater’s technical capabilities.

Mills High School will also host an open house for its new 48,800 square foot gym and theater that seats 700 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 400 Murchison Drive in Millbrae. Hillsdale High School will also open a new theater later this month.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: theater, lighting, mateo, school, house, project,

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